Scholars believe that Second Peter is among the last of the New Testament documents, written by a person who lived a generation after Peter and identified with his tradition. The author is trying to defend and reenergize belief in the second coming of Christ—the parousia. Because Christ hasn’t arrived, some followers are becoming impatient, and others have begun to question and ridicule the belief. The writer reminds them that Christ could come at any time and encourages them to spend their days growing in faith with behaviors of goodness and love so that they might hasten “the coming of the day of God.”
While impatience for the second coming may not be high on our agenda of concerns, perhaps it should be. What if the Second Coming requires—or actually is—the spiritual transformation of those of us who call ourselves followers of Christ, members of the Body of Christ? What if we are to be Christ—present in love to one another?
Jesus, you have called us to follow, watch, and learn from you, act as you do, and share your life with others. We are to participate with you in creating your kingdom here on earth, as it is in heaven. We know it will take time, and we grow impatient as we see wars and refusal to love all over the world. Help us not become scoffers. Help us not to give up hope. At every moment of every day, help us to see, hear, taste, smell, touch, think, feel, care, and love as you do. Transform our lives into your life so that together we may love, serve, help, and heal the world with you. Let all those whose lives we touch feel your loving presence reaching out to them through us. Be in our lives until we all see you face to face. Amen.
Prepare the way of the Lord! This is the theme for the second week of Advent. Isaiah cries out from the wilderness that the people should prepare for the arrival of the Lord. This will be met with shouts of praise and rejoicing. The psalmist tells his audience to prepare the way of the Lord by living rightly, namely by showing love and faithfulness to each other. Second Peter restates that we do not know the day of the Lord’s ultimate return, but we know that the delay is a result of God’s patience and desire for all to come to repentance. Matthew opens his Gospel with a quotation from this week’s Isaiah passage. Here John the Baptist is presented as the one preparing the way of the Lord.
Read Isaiah 40:1-11. When have you profoundly experienced God’s guidance or protection? How did this experience change you?
Read Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13. Consider the author’s questions. How can you and your faith community return to God to “dwell in God’s land”?
Read 2 Peter 3:8-15a. How might considering God’s time alter your perspective on your daily rush and prompt you toward a greater experience of peace?
Read Mark 1:1-8. When have you reached a spiritual dead end? How did the working of the Holy Spirit help you turn around or move forward in a new way?
Respond by posting a prayer.
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